round and round again: an atom is the universe

Veronica amazing me everyday.

Little smarty has figured out the alphabet, capital and lowercase letters.

At the same time, she figured out all the sounds of the letters.

She repeats these to herself and with me all the time.


What’a parent to do? We need to take it to the next level. Kid needs to learn about


After trying some other things, I bought a dry-erase board. Sat down with her and wrote some letters, asked her to sound them out

Then I asked her to sound them ALL out



This wigged her out. TOTALLY WIGGED HER OUT

She wiggled, she tried to get away. She did not want to deal with this.

Chris told me to leave her alone.

It reminded me of two things.

First, I remembered learning algebra. I did the same thing. I wiggled and tried to get out of it any way I could. Very similar to what she was doing.

Then I remembered when she was a newborn, and the dreaded Tummy Time.

As a contemporary parent, we are all told do NOT let your kid sleep on their tummy. Ever. It will


them. Because of SIDS. but if they never spend time on their tummy they don’t learn to crawl. So parents have to endure tummy time, resting the baby on her tummy so that she’ll develop arm and neck muscles.

Veronica HATED it. Other babies, I hear, hate it too.

I would put little 10 pound Veronica on her tummy on a blanket and count to 30–THIRTY SECONDS–of screaming. The doctors say give it 5 minutes a day. I was lucky to get one minute. In TWO THIRTY-SECONDS-OF-SCREAMING INCREMENTS.

Learning is hard.

So, I figured, I’ll have Veronica do a few words a day. Three, maybe. Sound out ‘hat’  ‘dog’ and ‘cat’, ‘fox’ ‘red’ and ‘cup’

Things like that. She can do it. But it’s hard for her.

At least she doesn’t scream.

I am Woman…and that means…

I am of an age where I really feel like I have to take some inventory of what I’ve got, and what it’s going to mean for the next chunk of time.

I often feel as if I have NOT done so much. But i have done a lot too.

So, if I gather together the things I’ve done and the skills I’ve acquired I have a pile of something.

Huh. Look at that. Something.

One of the elements of that somehting is my womanhood. I spent many years taking that for granted.

Well, i used that womanhood to birth a child. So, there’s that.

But what is it to be a woman? How can I be the Best Woman I Can Be?

What makes a woman distinct from a gender-unspecified person?

Women do certain things that men don’t really do. Like…we say nice things to one another. And we are nice in little ways to one another that men don’t really think about.

A woman will say to a stranger in an elevator “Nice Shoes!”

Men don’t usually do that.

And women will ask other people “How are you doing?” and LISTEN to the answer.

That’s not much. But…I am trying to be more appreciative and sympathetic to the other human beings around me.

Yesterday, in a Del Taco, I was waiting a LONG time for my order. The girl who ordered after was also waiting.

She was young. She was beautiful. I was wondering, “Was I beautiful when I was her age? I may have been. I sure didn’t think I was beautiful”

Then I thought, I could tell her. What if someone had told me I was beautiful?

I could be a bitter old woman, thinking “I should lose 20 pounds, and I should get botox” while looking at this young woman.

Or I could appreciate her.

I told her…Awkwardly, but I’m pretty sure my subtext of “I’m not hitting on you” was adequately conveyed. I told her that i was looking at her and feeling old, but I wanted to tell her that she was young and beautiful, and that was a good thing.


I hope that it made her feel good. I am glad I did it. I hope I can have the courage to do that sort of womanly thing again sometime.

I’d love to age gracefully into an old lady who says, “You’re lovely, dear…” to all the people around me.

I don’t know if I’ll be beautiful or sexy like Cher…probably not. I can’t afford the surgery. But I can be nice to be around for other reasons.

I’m not Shakespeare

I knew that.

There’s already a Shakespeare.

I was listening to an interview with an author and thinking, “How can I write so others want to read what I am saying?”

And then I thought…I can’t. I am nearly the last person who reads this blog, and that’s okay.

My books that I write are not much better, as far as readership goes.

But I can write.

Maybe it’s like flying. I can fly. Should that be enough?

I can dance. Shouldn’t that be enough?

I don’t necessariliy need the readers. Art is art.

passion– or a dream– deferred

A Dream Deferred

by langston hughes

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

So i’m probably stealing Hughes’ poem. But at least I am crediting it.

I was thinking about that poem because of the “Fear saps passion” phrase from yesterday.

If I am full of passion, but I am afraid, isn’t that a hope deferred?

Yes. Yes. Yes, it is. And a hope deferred is a dream deferred.

I had a reason to think of Charlie Brown and Lucy, with their football trick today.

“Come on, Charlie Brown! I’ll hold the football for you!”

and he falls for it every time. He puts all this passion into running, and the dream gets deferred.

and he lands on his butt.

It is NOT the fault of his passion. It is NOT the fault of the dream.

Everyone knows that it’s Lucy. Anyone can tell it’s Lucy whisking the goal out of reach.

How many times do I blame myself?

“I should have snuck up on the football, acted all casual…then I would have had my chance to kick it out of the sky!”

It is NOT my fault. It was never my fault.

I have to find a new person to hold the football. And if I want to kick that football, I have to keep looking until I find that someone.

a real friend

My brother gave me a self-help book for Christmas–Safe People

It is odd to receive a self help book as gift. It implies that I need some help, and maybe I should get my self together.

Then again, my brother loves me. I probably *should* get myself together.

I read it. And very quickly I was engrossed. It turns out there are a number of icky relationships I have been tolerating in my life. The book is very Church, very Christian-y, which I do not like. I am a Christian, but I don’t care to be given the bible as the only supporting evidence to prove a point. If it were true, it would be true outside the Bible as well as in.

I read stuff that triggered all kinds of exmples. My experience provided the outside examples of what theauthors were trying to prove. It rang very true.

The end of it gave a formula. It came from some bible verse, but which one doesn’t really matter.

It was a formula for how to gauge a safe and true friend.




“Dwell” means that person will hang with you. They will be around. They will spend the time and be available. Yes, that is the first part of a friend. Spending time, spending some effort.

“Grace” means a lot of things to me. The churchy meaning is “god’s grace”, as in forgiveness. Or comfort. Or empowerment to do a difficult thing. Grace also means elegance. The opposite of grace would be awkward. An awkward friendship might be on that just doesn’t quite mesh. Not the same sense of humor, or a way of speaking that is out of rhythm with one’s own. If you can’t find a naturalness to being with a person, then the friendship just won’t work.

Then there is Truth. A friend has to be the one to tell you the truth. Who among us would not doubt the veracity of a friendship, upon realizing that a friend didnt’ tell you about spinach in your teeth for the last hour? If our friends won’t tell us the truth, they are not friends.

Not that they should be cruel about it. See: “Grace.” A friend would also hang around to help you deal with a painful truth. See: “Dwell.”

This is a great measure to hold up against the people I spend time with. I find myself changing some plans.

I have a friend who is super fun and kind of glamorous. She is very willing to get together (Dwell). We have great times, and laugh (Grace). But I know that a couple times she hasn’t really told me the truth. She said a couple things, smallish, but I can tell she’s not real strong on the truth part.

I have another friend who is willing to hang, and is a little less glamorous and funny. But I can feel a lot more sure of what she tells me. She’s a lot stronger on the truth than GlamGal.

It occurred to me, that if there was a choice, all things being equal, I’d be better off spending time with truthgal.

if you want it, you measure it

When I had a paper to right for an assignment, and the assignment was to turn in so many pages, I got very good at knowing how to use fonts and margins to my advantage.

When the measure was number of words, I knew how to string those together.

When I myself wanted quality writing, well…that was something else altogether.

The thing is, when I want something to be a certain way, I pay attention. I get out the scale nearly every morning.

And if I want to lose weight, i pay attention to the amount of veggies I’m eating.

I know of certain people who talk about what they want.

“It should be thus and so…”

But they are not measuring. Or maybe they start measuring, but they don’t do anything about the measures.

If i weigh myself in the morning, but do not think about and be disciplined with my eating, I am not really doing anything with that measure.

If i find that someone is talking about it, but not measuring it, they are getting the good they want. The talk is enough for them.

5 am on the weekend again

Once again she woke us up at 5AM …like she did yesterday.

She was a little better this time, because she was cheerfully loud. Not wailing.

Nevertheless, it remains that the sun rose, and her entire clothing set needed to be changed twice by 6:15

So we are going to go to McDonald’s playland and get some breakfast. And I am going to get some coffee.

Chris is going to sleep.

I wish that i could quietly discover if any other local moms where having a morning like mine and wanted to meet me at the Playland on Foothill.

But i haven’t found a way to do that…Maybe I should find a sort of stealth texting tree mechanism:

‘Psst! Are you having a Morning as well? I’ll be at the playland in 15. And I promise she’ll be in PullUps this time! No puddles.”

Those cinammon chunky muffin thingys they have are tasty

sad = serious and serious = art…except it doesn’t

My friend told me that she made a point of watching all the Oscar nominated movies this year. Only one of them, she said, was one she would watch again if it came on TV.

“They are all so overwhelmingly depressing!” she reported back.

I’ve noticed this problem already. It’s very easy to express sadness and unhappiness. Boy oh boy, we seem to be able to just get down into that mud puddle and hang out FEELING it.

It’s a lot harder to be believable when  you have something happy to say.

But ‘they’ say it’s really hard to do comedy well. And I have to say I agree.

Comedy is a lot more needed too. I have my own mud puddle thank you very much.

Can’t I get the medicine in a spoonful of sugar? Give me something to smile about.

I was talking with Chris about novels, and how I have given up on *literary fiction* lately. That used to be all I read.

But now, the only good stuff is the dead author part of the library. Yes, Dickens and Austen, love you both.

Toni Morrison, can you lighten up? Do we need another past-the-breaking-point story of sorrow?

Chris said that there is a whole category of “It’s hard to be (x)” novels.

It’s hard to be poor

It’s hard to be gay

It’s hard to be black

It’s hard to be poor gay and black


It’s true, and I don’t want to minimize the suffering. But I’m sort of done. I guess that’s why I’m in love with fantasy novels.

It’s hard to be the son of magical parents raised by an unmagical foster family. But golly gee whiz! Look what I can do now!!!

I want a meaty story that I can think about. But how about a story that makes me smile while I’m learning something?

treading water?

Last night Veronica had trouble sleeping. Her tummy is upset.

So, from midnight to two, I was up and down to help her relax.

Except, it didn’t seem like such a big deal. It used to. I used to wonder how I could possibly do this FOREVER. Other parents didn’t help either. They would never say, “You will be stronger, you will be fine after time”

They just roll their eyes and say “Oh you think it gets better? It doesn’t.I haven’t slept since my firstborn, and he’s 40 now!”

Crao, Crap Crap. It’s enough to make you get into your car and drive and not look back.

But I remember one young girl talking to me. She was maybe 12, and the oldest of a large brood. I was pregnant, and she said “I am so scared to be pregnant! I think it would be so hard and it would hurt so much!”

What am I supposed to say to that?

I’m supposed to be the grown up and reassure HER.

“Well,” I said. “You have to be older and then you will be strong enough. THink how much stronger you are than when you were 8! When you are older you will be strong enough to bear it.”

“You think so? Maybe…”

“That is also why you should wait!”

See how clever I was? And how utterly ignorant? I think a 12 year old probably recovers much faster from teh physical injury of childbirth.

But it turns out that I’m recovering from the shock of the definite possibility of never sleeping a solid 8 hours for the next 5 years.

It can be done. And, if you make sure to leave room in your life for breathing it doesnt’ have to be that bad.

But here I am, talking about it some more. Talking about the unrelenting shock of parenting


I’m not thinking new original thoughts. I’m sleepy. I’m just mostly churning old thoughts. Treading water.

But at least I’m still afloat.

it turns out it takes time

There was a thing a while ago about big snakes that got ambitious and tried  to eat alligators. The alligators were often bigger than the snakes. The real definition of trying to  it off more than you can chew–or more accurately, swallowing whole was you cannot chew or even digest.

My daughter turned 3. And that has brought some new things into my life.  Things like a much diminished nap schedule. And things like frequent sleeping through the night. Not regular sleeping through the night, but frequent.

and potty training. and the even bigger deal of PreSchool. She doesn’t need me quite so bad all the freaking time.

she hasn’t got the memo that she doesnt need me. She’s super clingy.

But she doesn’t need me. She wants me and she doesn’t know what to do with herself now that she doesn’t need me quite so much. BUt she doesn’t need me.

And I get to figure out what to do with myself again.

I have this problem of thinking “…and NOW I can get back to NORMAL.”

Like there was ever any kind of normal. As if all the raising of my daughter was a small distraction on the REAL track I was following.

I feel stupid to realize I was thinking that way. And then sort of amazed that I managed to do as much as I have managed to do while I was keeping track of this not-yet-three-year-old

I do care about her, and I want…I am committed…to making her life good. But I cannot be exclusively commited to that. My life requires some things of its own to be good.

I’m getting to the part where I will be done with the bulk of digesting this alligator and maybe I can start to slowly slither again instead of just roll.

Some people have more than one kid. I have so much admiration for that. I always wanted that, but now that i”m in the middle of just the one, I am pretty sure I could not manage it.

Because it takes so much time, And I foolishly didn’t really expect that.